US9209873B1 - Method and apparatus for estimating noise and providing linear equalizers for multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) wireless communication systems - Google Patents

Method and apparatus for estimating noise and providing linear equalizers for multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) wireless communication systems Download PDF

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US9209873B1
US9209873B1 US14038093 US201314038093A US9209873B1 US 9209873 B1 US9209873 B1 US 9209873B1 US 14038093 US14038093 US 14038093 US 201314038093 A US201314038093 A US 201314038093A US 9209873 B1 US9209873 B1 US 9209873B1
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Hongyuan Zhang
Yihong Qi
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Marvell International Ltd
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04BTRANSMISSION
    • H04B7/00Radio transmission systems, i.e. using radiation field
    • H04B7/02Diversity systems; Multi-antenna system, i.e. transmission or reception using multiple antennas
    • H04B7/04Diversity systems; Multi-antenna system, i.e. transmission or reception using multiple antennas using two or more spaced independent antennas
    • H04B7/0413MIMO systems
    • H04B7/0452Multi-user MIMO systems
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04BTRANSMISSION
    • H04B17/00Monitoring; Testing
    • H04B17/30Monitoring; Testing of propagation channels
    • H04B17/309Measuring or estimating channel quality parameters
    • H04B17/345Interference values
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04BTRANSMISSION
    • H04B17/00Monitoring; Testing
    • H04B17/30Monitoring; Testing of propagation channels
    • H04B17/309Measuring or estimating channel quality parameters
    • H04B17/318Received signal strength
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L25/00Baseband systems
    • H04L25/02Details ; Arrangements for supplying electrical power along data transmission lines
    • H04L25/03Shaping networks in transmitter or receiver, e.g. adaptive shaping networks ; Receiver end arrangements for processing baseband signals
    • H04L25/03006Arrangements for removing intersymbol interference
    • H04L25/03159Arrangements for removing intersymbol interference operating in the frequency domain
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L25/00Baseband systems
    • H04L25/02Details ; Arrangements for supplying electrical power along data transmission lines
    • H04L25/03Shaping networks in transmitter or receiver, e.g. adaptive shaping networks ; Receiver end arrangements for processing baseband signals
    • H04L25/03891Spatial equalizers

Abstract

Some of the embodiments provide a method comprising during a first time period, receiving, by a first user equipment, (i) a first signal intended for the first user equipment, (ii) a second signal intended for a second user equipment, and (iii) a noise signal having a first noise power level; during a second time period, receiving, by the first user equipment, the noise signal having the first noise power level; during the first time period and the second time period, propagating the noise signal through a plurality of components of the first user equipment such that the noise signal is scaled by the plurality of components, wherein subsequent to the scaling of the noise signal, the noise signal has a second noise power level; and estimating the second noise power level.

Description

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/706,547, filed Sep. 27, 2012, which is incorporated herein by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

Embodiments of the present disclosure relate to multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) wireless communication systems, and more particularly, to estimating noise and providing linear equalizers for MU-MIMO systems.

BACKGROUND

In wireless communication systems, multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) refers to use of multiple antennas at both a transmitter and a receiver to improve communication performance. Multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) refers to a MIMO system in which a base station or an access point transmits data streams simultaneously to a plurality of user equipments. To enhance the communication capabilities of all the terminals, MU-MIMO applies an extended version of space-division multiple access (SDMA) to allow multiple transmitters to send separate signals and multiple receivers to receive separate signals simultaneously in the same band.

SUMMARY

In various embodiments, the present disclosure describes a method comprising during a first time period, receiving, by a first user equipment, (i) a first signal intended for the first user equipment, (ii) a second signal intended for a second user equipment that is different from the first user equipment, and (iii) a noise signal having a first noise power level, wherein the first signal and the second signal are received from an access point; during the first time period, processing, by an automatic gain control module of the first user equipment using a first gain factor, (i) the first signal, (ii) the second signal, and (iii) the noise signal; during a second time period, receiving, by the first user equipment, the noise signal having the first noise power level, wherein during the second time period, no signals are received by the first user equipment from the access point; during the second time period, processing, by the automatic gain control module of the first user equipment using a second gain factor, the noise signal; determining a ratio of the second gain factor and the first gain factor; during the first time period and the second time period, propagating the noise signal through a plurality of components of the first user equipment such that the noise signal is scaled by the plurality of components, wherein subsequent to the scaling of the noise signal, the noise signal has a second noise power level; and based on the ratio of the second gain factor and the first gain factor, estimating the second noise power level.

In various embodiments, the present disclosure also describes a user equipment comprising (A) an antenna configured to during a first time period, receive (i) a first signal intended for the user equipment, (ii) an interference signal, and (iii) a noise signal having a first noise power level, wherein the first signal and the second signal are received from an access point, and during a second time period, receive the noise signal having the first noise power level, wherein during the second time period, no signals are received from the access point; (B) an automatic gain control module configured to during the first time period, process, using a first gain factor, (i) the first signal, (ii) the second signal, and (iii) the noise signal, and during the second time period, process, using a second gain factor, the noise signal; (C) a plurality of components that comprises at least the automatic gain control module and one or more other components, wherein during the first time period and the second time period, the noise signal is propagated through the plurality of components such that the noise signal is scaled by the plurality of components, wherein subsequent to the scaling of the noise signal, the noise signal has a second noise power level; and (D) a noise estimation module configured to determine a ratio of the second gain factor and the first gain factor, and based on the ratio of the second gain factor and the first gain factor, estimate the second noise power level.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the following detailed description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings which form a part hereof wherein like numerals designate like parts throughout, and in which is shown by way of embodiments that illustrate principles of the present disclosure.

FIG. 1 schematically illustrates an example multiple-user multiple-input/multiple-output (MU-MIMO) wireless communication system comprising an access point (AP) and a plurality of user equipments.

FIG. 2 schematically illustrates an example implementation of a user equipment of FIG. 1 in more detail.

FIG. 3 illustrates a format of an example data packet transmitted by an access point to a user equipment.

FIG. 4 illustrates an example method for operating the system of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 schematically illustrates an example multiple-user multiple-input/multiple-output (MU-MIMO) wireless communication system 100 (henceforth referred to herein as “system 100”) comprising an access point (AP) 104 and a plurality of user equipments (UEs) 112 u, 112 v 1, 112 v 2, . . . , 112 vP, where P is an appropriate integer. The UEs 112 u, 112 v 1, . . . , 112 vP represent, for example, mobile devices that communicate data by way of radio transmissions with at least the AP 104.

For ease for notation and unless otherwise stated, the UEs 112 v 1, . . . , 112 vP are collectively indicated by UE 112 v (i.e., a reference to UEs 112 v indicates one or more of the UEs 112 v 1, . . . , 112 vP). Furthermore, unless otherwise stated, a notation with a suffix “v” signifies that the notation is associated with one or more (e.g., all) of the UEs 112 v 1, . . . , 112 vP. Although UE 112 u has a different notation than the notations of the UE 112 v 1, . . . , 112 vP, such a difference is merely for ease of explanation. Although FIG. 1 illustrates a specific (e.g., (P+1)) number of UEs, the system 100 may include any different number of UEs.

In an example, the system 100 operates in accordance with Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11ac standard for providing high-throughput wireless local area networks (WLAN5), scheduled for release on 2014 (or other appropriate versions). In another example, the system 100 operates in accordance with “Long Term Evolution” (LTE) standard, e.g., release 9 specification (or other appropriate releases). In the embodiment where the system 100 operates in accordance with the LTE standard, the AP 104 represents a base station (e.g., a cellular telephone transmitter/receiver tower). In yet another example, the system 100 operates in accordance with any appropriate MU-MIMO wireless communication standards.

The AP 104 has a plurality of antennas 108A, . . . , 108N, each configured to transmit and/or receive signals (e.g., data streams) to and/or from the UEs 112 u, 112 v 1, . . . , 112 vP, where N is an appropriate integer. Each of the UEs 112 u, 112 v 1, . . . , 112 vP has one or more antennas configured to transmit and/or receive signal to and/or from the AP 104. For example, UE 112 u has antennas 116 u 1 and 116 u 2; UE 112 v 1 has antennas 116 v 11 and 116 v 12; UE 112 vP has antennas 116 vP1 and 116 vP2, and so on. Although FIG. 1 illustrates each UE comprising two antennas, individual UEs can have any different number of antennas.

A channel between the AP 104 and the UE 112 u is represented by a channel matrix Hu; a channel between the AP 104 and the UE 112 v 1 is represented by a channel matrix Hv1; a channel between the AP 104 and the UE 112 vP is represented by a channel matrix HvP, and so on. In an embodiment, each UE is configured to estimate a channel matrix that represents the channel between the corresponding UE and the AP 104.

FIG. 2 schematically illustrates an example implementation of the UE 112 u of FIG. 1 in more detail. The UE 112 a has one or more antennas 116 u 1 and 116 u 2 configured to at least receive signals transmitted by the AP 104. A receiver module 204 of the UE 112 u is configured to receive an output of the antennas, and transmit the received signal to an automatic gain control (AGC) module 208. The AGC module 208 automatically controls a gain of the received signal, and outputs a gain adjusted signal to an analog to digital (A/D) converter module 212. The output of the AGC module 208 is in analog form, which is converted in a digital form by the A/D converter module 212. In an embodiment, the digital output of the A/D converter module 212 is appropriately scaled by a digital scaling module 216. A scaled output of the digital scaling module 216 is received by a fast Fourier transform (FFT) module 220. The FFT module 220 performs an FFT operation, e.g., converts the received signal from a time domain to a frequency domain. The FFT module 220 outputs to a demodulator module 224, which demodulates the received signal to generate a demodulated data stream 232.

While data streams are being transmitted from the AP 104 to the UE 112 u, and while the data streams are being processed by various components of the UE 112 u, noise is injected in the data streams. For example, additive noise, thermal noise, quantization noise, and/or the like are added to the data streams while being transmitted to the UE 112 u, in various stages of the AGC module 208, the A/D converter module 212, the digital scaling module 216, and/or the like. In an embodiment, the UE 112 comprises a noise estimation module 228 configured to estimate noise in the data streams received by the demodulator module 224. The demodulator module 224 receives the noise estimate from the noise estimation module 228, and uses the noise estimation to demodulate the data streams.

In an embodiment, in the MU-MIMO system 100, the AP 104 transmits data streams for different UEs simultaneously and in the same frequency band. However, the data streams being transmitted to the UEs 112 v (i.e., one or more of the UEs 112 v 1, . . . , 112 vP) may interfere with the data stream being transmitted to UE 112 u. To reduce such interference, the data streams, prior to being transmitted by the AP 104, are pre-coded by the AP 104 by a MU pre-coding matrix QMU. Pre-coding matrix QMU can be represented by QMU=[Qu, Qv1, . . . , QvP], where Qu, Qv1, . . . , QvP are pre-coding matrices used for pre-coding data streams intended for UEs 112 u, 112 v 1, . . . , 112 vP, respectively.

Let the signal transmitted by the AP 104 for the UE 112 u be represented as xu; the signal transmitted by the AP 104 for the UE 112 v 1 be represented as xv1; the signal transmitted by the AP 104 for the UE 112 v 2 be represented as xv2; and so on. Let signal yu represent the signal received by the UE 112 u. Signal yu received by the UE 112 u is given by the following equation:

y u = H u Q u x u + H u v u Q v x v + n = A u x u + v u A v x v + n Equation 1
where the pre-coding matrix Qv represents each of the pre-coding matrices Qv1, . . . , QvP (i.e., in equation 1, v varies from 1 to P); signal xv represents each of the signals xv1, . . . , xvP; the signal n represents noise added to the signal xu while being transmitted from the AP104 to the UE 112 u; the term Au represents Hu·Qu; and the term Av represents Hu·Qv.

Ideally, the MU pre-coding matrix QMU is to be designed such that Hu·Qv=0 for v=1, . . . , P, so that interference signal to the UE 112 u is perfectly cancelled. However, in practice, it may not always be possible to perfectly cancel the interference. So, a signal receiver at the UE 112 u aims to mitigate an effect of the interference to the extent possible, in order to increase the performance of the receiver at the UE 112.

In an embodiment, the demodulator module 224 a at the UE 112 u generates a signal zu from the received signal yu using the following:
z u =W u ·y u  Equation 2
where yu is the signal generated from equation 1, and Wu is a matrix used for decoupling various data streams in the signal yu (e.g., the matrix Wu, to an extent possible, cancels the component of signal yu that are associated with xv and n in equation 1). In an embodiment, the signal zu is generated and used by the demodulator module 224 a in the UE 112 u to generate the data stream xu transmitted by the AP 104 to the UE 112 u.

FIG. 3 illustrates a format of an example data packet 300 (henceforth referred to as “packet 300”) transmitted by the AP 104 to one of the UEs. The packet 300 is transmitted, for example, by the AP 104 to the UE 112 u (i.e., the packet 300 is included in the signal xu).

The packet 300 comprises an omni-portion 304 and a UE specific portion 308. The omni-portion 304 is common for packets transmitted to each of the UEs 112 u, 112 v 1, . . . , 112 vP (i.e., packets transmitted to each of the UEs 112 u, 112 v 1, . . . , 112 vP will have the omni-portion 304). The UE specific portion 308 of the packet 300 is specifically for the UE 112 u. The packet 300 is in accordance with a format of a packet within the 802.11ac standards for MU-MIMO packets.

As illustrated in FIG. 3, the packet 300 comprises long training fields (LTFs), which are used for training a UE for accurately receiving and decoding the data streams from the AP 104. Referring again to equation 1, the UE 112 u receives the signal xu intended for the UE 112 u, and also receives part of the signals xv1, xv2, . . . , xvP intended for other UEs. Each of these signals has corresponding packets having corresponding LTFs. Accordingly, the UE 112 u receives a plurality of LTFs destined for the plurality of UEs 112 u, 112 v 1, . . . , 112 vP.

Assume that YLTFu is the LTF included in a packet that is intended for the UE 112 u, YLTFv1 is the LTF included in a packet that is intended for the UE 112 v 1, YLTFvP is the LTF included in a packet that is intended for the UE 112 vP, and so on. Also, all the LTFs intended for all the UEs, when received by the UE 112 u, has to transmit through the channel between the AP 104 and the UE 112 u. Accordingly,
[y LTFu y LTFv1 . . . y LTFvP]user u =H u ·[Q u Q v1 . . . Q vP ]D CSD ·P  Equation 3
where [yLTFu yLTFv1 . . . yLTFvP]user u represents the LTFs intended for various UEs, as received by the UE 112 u; DCSD is a diagonal matrix with a phase shift; and P is a pre-defined matrix (e.g., as defined in a wireless communication standard associated with the system 100). It is to be noted that Hu·Qu·DCSD=Au, and Hu·[Qv1 . . . QvP]·DCSD=Av, where Au and Av are discussed with respect to equation 1. The term Au is associated with the signal transmitted from the AP 104 to the UE 112 u, and the term Av is associated with interference from the AP 104 to the UE 112 u (e.g., due to the AP 104 simultaneously transmitting to the other UEs, i.e., UEs 112 v). Based on the received LTFs [yLTFu yLTFv1 . . . yLTFvP]user u, the UE 112 u estimates Au and Av from equation 3. As the matrix DCSD is known to the UE 112 u, the UE 112 u is has an estimate of each of Hu·Qu and Hu·[Qv1 . . . QvP]. As discussed herein later, such estimation is used by the UE 112 u to estimate the Wu matrix of equation 2, such that the signal zu provides a relatively accurate estimate of the signal xu.

Linear Multi-User Equalizer (MEQ) Algorithms

As discussed with respect to equation 2, if the matrix Wu is estimated, the signal zu can be derived from the signal yu such that the signal zu is a relatively accurate estimate of the signal xu transmitted by the AP 104 for the UE 112 u. Based on the estimate of Au and/or the estimate of Av (e.g., as discussed above with respect to equation 3), the UE 112 u determines the matrix Wu and a signal to interference and noise ratio (SINRi) for an ith data stream from the AP 104 to the UE 112 u. Various examples of multi-user equalizer (MEQ) algorithms for estimating Wu and SINRi are discussed below. In some of the example MEQ algorithms discussed below, the determination of matrix Wu and the SINR also requires an estimation of noise N0, which represents a power of additive noise added to the signal prior to processing of the signal by the AGC module 208 (e.g., noise added to the data streams while the data streams are being transmitted by the AP 104 to the UE 112 u). Estimation of the noise N0 is also discussed herein later.

Linear Multi-User Equalizer (MEQ) Algorithm—Minimum Mean Square Error (MMSE) Algorithm

In a minimum mean square error (MMSE) algorithm, the UE 112 u utilizes the estimates of Au, Av and noise N0 to determine the matrix Wu and the SINRi. In accordance with the MMSE algorithm,

W u = A u H · [ A u A u H + v u A v A v H + N 0 I ] - 1 Equation 4

SINR i = ( W u A u ) ii 2 ( [ W u A u A u H W u H ] ii - ( W u A u ) ii 2 ) + v u [ W u A v A v H W u H ] ii + N 0 [ W u W u H ] ii Equation 5

Thus, the estimation of Wu and SINRi, in accordance with the MMSE algorithm, requires estimation of noise N0 (e.g., which is discussed herein later), along with estimates of Au and Av. In an embodiment, the MMSE represents an optimal linear MU-MEQ algorithm.

Linear Multi-User Equalizer (MEQ) Algorithm—Single User Zero Forcing (SUZF) Algorithm

A single user zero forcing (SUZF) algorithm ignores interference (e.g., ignores the term Av) and the noise N0 while estimating the matrix Wu and SINRi. In accordance with the SUZF algorithm,
W u =[A u H A u]−1 A u H.  Equation 6

SINR i = 1 ( A u H A u ) ii - 1 Equation 7

The SUZF algorithm assumes the MU-MIMO system as a single user MIMO system (i.e., ignores interference from data streams intended for other UEs), and estimates Wu and SINRi based on such assumptions. As the SUZF algorithm ignores the interference and noise N0, the SUZF algorithm is relatively less accurate (but relatively easy to implement) compared to the MMSE algorithm discussed with respect to equations 4 and 5. Also, as the SUZF algorithm does not require an estimation of noise N0, there is no need to estimate the noise N0 to implement the SUZF algorithm.

Linear Multi-User Equalizer (MEQ) Algorithm—SUZF and SINR Algorithm

A SUZF and SINR algorithm ignores interference (e.g., ignores the term Av) and the noise N0 while estimating the matrix Wu, but considers the interference and noise N0 while estimating the SINRi. In accordance with the SUZF and SINR algorithm,
W u =[A u H A u]−1 A u H.  Equation 8

SINR i = 1 v u [ W u A v A v H W u H ] ii + N 0 [ W u W u H ] ii Equation 9

As the SUZF and SINR algorithm takes into account interference and noise N0 while determining the SINRi, the SUZF and SINR algorithm is relatively more accurate than the SUZF algorithm.

In an embodiment, if each of the UEs has only a single antenna (e.g., although not illustrated in FIG. 1), then the SUZF and SINR algorithm can be simplified such that the SUZF and SINR algorithm becomes identical to the previously discussed MMSE algorithm. For example, equation 8 can, in such a case, be simplified such that Wu=Au, where the “*” sign indicates a complex value of Au. Also, equation 9 can be simplified as:

SINR 1 = A 1 2 A 2 2 + N 0 Equation 9 A
where A1 is equal to Au, and A2 is equal to Av.

Linear Multi-User Equalizer (MEQ) Algorithm—SUZF AND SIR Algorithm

A SUZF and signal to interference ratio (SIR) algorithm ignores interference (e.g., ignores the term Av) and the noise N0 while estimating the matrix Wu, but considers the interference while estimating the SINRi (but ignores the noise N0 while estimating the SINRi). In accordance with the SUZF and SIR algorithm,
W u =[A u H A u]−1 A u H.  Equation 10

SINR i = 1 v u [ W u A v A v H W u H ] ii Equation 11

As the SUZF and SIR algorithm takes into account interference while determining the SINRi, the SUZF and SIR algorithm is relatively more accurate than the SUZF algorithm. Also, as the SUZF and SIR algorithm does not require an estimation of noise N0, there is no need to estimate the noise N0 to implement the SUZF and SIR algorithm.

In an embodiment, if each of the UEs has only a single antenna (e.g., although not illustrated in FIG. 1), then equation 10 of the SIR algorithm can be simplified as Wu=Au*, and equation 11 can be simplified as:

SINR 1 = A 1 2 A 2 2 Equation 11 A

Linear Multi-User Equalizer (MEQ) Algorithm—MUZF Algorithm

A multi-user zero forcing (MUZF) algorithm is implemented if, for example, a number of receive antennas in the UE 112 u is greater than or equal to a total number of data streams simultaneously transmitted by the AP 104 (e.g., where one or more of the total number of data streams is intended for the UE 112 u). For example, assume that the UE 112 u has NRX number of receive antennas (e.g., in FIG. 1, NRX=2), and the total number of data streams simultaneously transmitted by the AP 104 is NSTS total. For example, if the AP 104 simultaneously transmits a single data stream for each of the UEs 112 u, 112 v 1, 112 vP, then NSTS total=(P+1). In an embodiment, the MUZF algorithm is used if NRX≧NSTS total.

Assume a matrix A=[Au Av1 . . . AvP]. In accordance with the MUZF algorithm,
A=[A 1 A 2 . . . A U]
W u =[A H A] −1 A H  Equation 12

SINR i = 1 ( A H A ) ii - 1 Equation 13

Thus, in MUZF, the UE 112 u performs a zero forcing on all the data streams, and separates the data streams (i.e., separates the data stream intended for the UE 112 from the other data streams intended for the other UEs).

Noise Power Estimation

As previously discussed, an estimation of noise power is required at least for the (i) MMSE algorithm and (ii) the SUZF and SINR algorithm. Noise in the signal received by the demodulator module 224 of the UE 112 u can be from various sources. For example, noise may be added to the signal while being transmitted from the AP 104 to the UE 112 u. Noise may also be added in one or more gain stages of the AGC module 208, during a quantization operation performed by the A/D converter 212, digital scaling performed by the digital scaling module 216, thermal noise, and/or the like. Furthermore, as the signal received by the UE 112 u is scaled by the digital scaling module 216, the noise estimated by the noise estimation module 228 has to be scaled accordingly (e.g., as the noise in the signal is also scaled by the digital scaling module 216).

In an embodiment, a noise power in a data stream, as seen by the demodulator module 224, is given by:

N BB = g = 1 N Gains { ( i = 1 N Gains - i + 1 G i ) · N g } Equation 14
where Ng is a noise power in a given stage of the data processing path in the UE 112 u; Gi represents a gain step (e.g., in which a noise is amplified by gain Gi); NGains represent a total number of stages in the data processing path in the UE 112 u; and NBB is a frequency domain noise power observed in the demodulator module 224 of the UE 112 u. So, NBB is the noise observed by the demodulator module 224, which is scaled by all the gains of the data processing path in the UE 112 u (e.g., where the data processing path in the UE 112 u comprises the circuit path between the antennas of the UE 112 u and the demodulator module 224. Noise power estimation (e.g., estimation of the noise NBB) using two different approaches are discussed below.

Noise Power Estimation Based on AGC Gain Change

Let Ps represent an input signal power received at the antennas of the UE 112 u (i.e., Ps represents a power of the signal xu, after being precoded by the corresponding precoding matrix and after traversing the channel between the AP 104 and the UE 112 u), PI represent an interference signal power received at the antennas of the UE 112 u (i.e., PI represents a power of the signals xv1, . . . , xvP, after being precoded by the corresponding precoding matrices and after traversing the channel between the AP 104 and the UE 112 u), and N0 represent a noise power received at the antennas of the UE 112 u. Thus, N0 is the power of the noise in the signals received by the antennas of the UE 112 u, prior to the signals being processed by the AGC module 208.

A noise period (also referred to herein as “idle period”) refers to a period when no signal is being received by the UE 112 b (e.g., when no data streams are transmitted by the AP 104). During the idle period, only noise is being received by the UE 112 u. Let the gain factor of the AGC module 208 during the idle period be NF, which is a noise floor of the UE 112 u. Let RSSI represent the gain factor of the AGC module 208 after receiving the VHT-STF portion of a packet (e.g., as illustrated in FIG. 3), i.e., when actual data or the UE specific portion 308 of the packet is being transmitted by the AP104. That is, RSSI is the gain factor of the AGC module 208 while the UE 112 u receives actual data from the AP 104. Furthermore, let a gain target of the AGC module 208 at the output of the A/D converter module 212 be GT.

In an embodiment, signal power during the VHT-STF, as measured at the baseband frequency for each receive antenna, is given by:
y u2=β  Equation 15

For example, β is the signal power at the demodulator module 224. In an embodiment, GT (which represents the signal power in time domain, at the output of the A/D converter module 212) may not be same as β, due to presence of the digital scaling module 216 (i.e., due to digital scaling of the signal) subsequent to the A/D converter module 212.

The noise power N0, noise floor NF and the gain target GT are related as follows:
N 0 ·NF=GT  Equation 16

Equation 16 is applicable during the idle period, i.e., when no signal is being received by the UE 112 b (e.g., no data stream transmitted by the AP 104). During the idle period, the noise power N0 is amplified by the noise floor NF, such that the output of the A/D converter module 212 is GT.

When the UE 112 u receives signals from the AP 104 (e.g., receives signals intended for the UE 112 u, as well as interference signals intended for other UEs, i.e., subsequent to receiving the VHT-STF of the data packets), the AGC gain RSSI is related to the GT as follows:
(P s +P I +N 0RSSI=GT  Equation 17A
where Ps represents the input signal power received at the antennas of the UE 112 u, and PI represent the interference signal power received at the antennas of the UE 112 u. In equation 17A, the total signal power received by the antennas of the UE 112 u is (Ps+PI+N0) (e.g., while actual data streams are received by the UE 112 u), which is multiplied by RSSI (representing AGC gain factor while actual data streams are received by the UE 112 u) to achieve GT. Thus, the AGC module 208 selectively varies the AGC gain, such that the output of the A/D converter module 212 is substantially GT at all times (i.e., is substantially GT during the idle period, and also while actual data streams are received by the UE 112 u).

In equation 17A, the noise power N0 is substantially smaller than the terms Ps and PI (i.e., noise power N0 is smaller in comparison to the signal and interference power), and hence the noise power N0 can be ignored, leading to a simplification of equation 17A as follows:
(P s +P IRSSI=GT  Equation 17B

A ratio α is defined as:

α = NF RSSI = P S + P I N 0 Equation 18

Equation 18 is derived from equations 16 and 17B. The ratio α (also referred to herein as “gain change ratio”) is a ratio of the AGC gain during the idle period and the AGC gain when actual data stream is being received by the UE 112 u. The ratio α is representative of a change of the AGC gain from the idle period to the period when actual data stream is being received by the UE 112 u.

Also, the signal power (e.g., while actual data stream is being received by the UE 112 u), as measured in the frequency domain in the input of the demodulator module 224, is given by:
β=∥y∥ 2=(P s +P IRSSI·c  Equation 19
where c is a digital scaling factor of the digital scaling module 216. It is to be noted that similar to equation 17B, the noise power N0 is ignored in equation 19.

Equations 18 and 19 is combined to achieve the following:

N 0 · RSSI · c = β α Equation 20

As discussed previously, N0 represent the noise power received at the antennas of the UE 112 u, prior to the signal being processed by the AGC module 208 (i.e., N0 represents pre-AGC noise power). The term N0·RSSI·c represents an effect of the noise power N0, as seen in the frequency domain by the demodulator module 224.

Thus, the term N0·RSSI·c of equation 20 represents an effect of the noise power N0 in the baseband noise NBB observed in the digital baseband by the demodulator module 224. However, the baseband noise NBB also has components of noise added in the AGC module 208 and/or subsequent to the AGC module 208 (collectively referred to herein as “post-AGC noise”). The effect of the post-AGC noise is represented by a factor r in the following equation:

N BB = β α ( 1 + r ) Equation 21

In equation 21, the term β/α is from equation 19 representing an effect of noise N0 in the baseband noise NBB, and the term (β/α)·r represents the effect of post-AGC noise in the baseband noise NBB.

The factor r, representing a contribution of the post-AGC noise in the baseband noise NBB, is a tunable factor. In an embodiment, the factor r is tuned using a register in the demodulator module 224. For example, in an experimental setting using an UE, the factor r is varied and a performance of the UE is measured. A value of r, which provides an optimal or near optimal performance of the UE, is selected and used in the UE 112 u.

In another embodiment, the factor r is derived from a look-up table (LUT), based, for example, on a value of RSSI. Each candidate value of RSSI has a corresponding candidate value of r in the LUT. The LUT is generated for various values of RSSIs using, for example, the above discussed experimental setting of the UE. Based on the actual value of the RSSI used by the UE 112 u, an appropriate value of r is selected from the LUT.

In an embodiment, one or more of the operations discussed above for estimating the baseband noise NBB are performed, for example, by the noise estimation module 228 of the UE 112 u.

In an embodiment, if the UE 112 u has more than one receive antennas (e.g., antennas 116 u 1 and 116 u 2, as illustrated in FIG. 2), the baseband noise NBB can be computed on one of the receive antennas (e.g., and applied to data streams received by other receive antennas). In another embodiment, if the UE 112 u has more than one receive antennas (e.g., antennas 116 u 1 and 116 u 2, as illustrated in FIG. 2), the baseband noise NBB can be computed on all the receive antennas, and then averaged to find the baseband noise NBB for individual receive antennas.

In an embodiment, the estimated baseband noise NBB (e.g., as estimated using equation 21) is used, for example, in one or more of the previously discussed linear multi-user equalizer (MEQ) algorithms (e.g., the MMSE algorithm, and the SUZF and SINR algorithm). For example, in these algorithms, the estimated baseband noise NBB is used (e.g., instead of the noise power N0); along with using, instead of terms Au and Av, a scaled version of the terms Au and Av, to account for the AGC gain and scaling of the signal and interference signals by various components of the UE 112 u.

Noise Power Estimation Based on SIGA Field

As illustrated in FIG. 3, the omni-portion 304 of the packet 300 has a SIGA filed. While SIGA is being received by the UE 112 u, no data is being transmitted by the AP 104 to the UEs (data to individual UEs are being transmitted during the UE specific portion 308, while the omni-portion 304 is transmitted commonly to all the UEs simultaneously by the AP 104). Accordingly, no interference is present while the SIGA filed is being received by the UE 112 u. Noise power estimation based on SIGA field is usually preferred (e.g., preferred over noise power estimation based on AGC gain change, as discussed with respect to at least equation 21) in a moderate to high SNR range, and/or when the SIG-A field is modulated using binary phase-shift keying (BPSK).

Let the signal received per tone and per receive antenna (e.g., antenna 116 u 1) of the UE 112 u be given by:
Y=HS+Z  Equation 22
where S is the SIGA signal transmitted by the AP 104, H is the channel matrix between the AP 104 and the UE 112 b, and Z is the noise.

In an embodiment, a SIGA bit can be either +1 or −1. In a slicer based approach, the following equation is used to derive a factor Ŝ:

S ^ = sign ( Y H ^ ) , Equation 23 sign ( x ) = { 1 if x 1 - 1 if x < 1 , H ^ is the channel estimation
where the factor Ŝ has a value comprising one of +1 or −1. The factor Ŝ is an estimation of the SIGA bit. Equation 23 provides a reliable estimation if, for example, the SNR is relatively moderate or high. For example, if the SNR is too low (i.e., if the noise Z is high), as equation 23 does not take into account the noise Z, the estimation of the SIGA bit using 23 may not be correct.

In a re-encoding approach, Ŝ can be derived by encoding and modulating the decoded the SIGA bit (e.g., after the SIGA bits are decoded and an error correction algorithm is applied to the decoded SIGA bits).

Subsequent to estimating the SIGA bit, the noise Z is estimated as follows:
{circumflex over (Z)}=Y−ĤŜ  Equation 24
where {circumflex over (Z)} is an estimation of the noise Z. Subsequently, the baseband noise during the omni-portion of the packet is given by:

N BB _ omni = 1 K k Z ^ k 2 Equation 25
where {circumflex over (Z)}k represents the estimated noise for a kth tone from equation 24, and NBB omni represents the baseband noise during the omni-portion 304 of the packet and averaged over all possible tones.

In an embodiment, the AGC gain during the omni-portion 304 of the packet may be different from the AGC gain during the UE specific portion 308. Accordingly, to estimate the noise during the UE specific portion 308, the noise NBB omni has to be scaled appropriately.

Let ΔRSSI be a change (e.g., an increase) in the AGC gain between the omni-porion 304 of the packet and the UE specific portion 308. Also, as previously discussed, let the factor r represent the post-AGC noise. Then the baseband noise NBB is derived from NBB omni by:
N BB =N BB omni·ΔRSSI(1+r)  Equation 26A
or N BB =N BB omni·(1+r)  Equation 26B

In equation 26B, the ΔRSSI is assumed to be 1. In the case ΔRSSI is not equal to 1, equation 26A is used to estimate the baseband noise NBB; and in the case ΔRSSI is equal to 1, equation 26B is used to estimate the baseband noise NBB.

As previously discussed, the factor r can be tuned using a register based on measurements performed in an experimental setting and/or based on a LUT.

In an embodiment, if the UE 112 u has more than one receive antennas (e.g., antennas 116 u 1 and 116 u 2, as illustrated in FIG. 2), the baseband noise NBB can be computed on one of the receive antennas (e.g., and applied to data streams received by other receive antennas). In another embodiment, if the UE 112 u has more than one receive antennas (e.g., antennas 116 u 1 and 116 u 2, as illustrated in FIG. 2), the baseband noise NBB can be computed on all the receive antennas, and then averaged to find the baseband noise NBB for individual receive antenna.

In an embodiment, the estimated baseband noise NBB (e.g., as estimated using equation 26A or 26B) is used, for example, in one or more of the previously discussed linear multi-user equalizer (MEQ) algorithms (e.g., the MMSE algorithm, and the SUZF and SINR algorithm). For example, in these algorithms, the estimated baseband noise NBB is used (e.g., instead of the noise power N0); along with using, instead of terms Au and Av, a scaled version of the terms Au and Av, to account for the AGC gain and scaling of the signal and interference signals by various components of the UE 112 u.

FIG. 4 illustrates an example method 400 for operating the system 100 (e.g., the UE 112 u) of FIG. 1. At 404, during a first time period (e.g., while the UE 112 is receiving signals from the AP 104, i.e., subsequent to receiving the VHT-STF of the data packets), a first user equipment (e.g., the UE 112 u) receives (i) a first signal intended for the first user equipment, (ii) a second signal intended for a second user equipment that is different from the first user equipment, and (iii) a noise signal having a first noise power level (e.g., noise power N0), wherein the first signal and the second signal are received from an access point (e.g., AP 104). Also during the first time period, an automatic gain control module (e.g., the AGC module 208) of the first user equipment processes, using a first gain factor (e.g., gain factor RSSI), (i) the first signal, (ii) the second signal, and (iii) the noise signal.

At 408, during a second time period (e.g., the idle period, when no signal is transmitted by the AP 104), the first user equipment receives the noise signal having the first noise power level, wherein during the second time period, no signals are received by the first user equipment from the access point. Also during the second time period, the automatic gain control module processes, using a second gain factor (e.g., gain factor NF), the noise signal.

At 412, a ratio of the second gain factor and the first gain factor is determined (e.g., by the noise estimation module 228 using equation 18). At 416, during the first time period and the second time period, the noise signal is propagated through a plurality of components (e.g., the AGC module 208, the A/D converter module 212, the digital scaling module 216, and/or the FFT module 220) of the first user equipment such that the noise signal is scaled by the plurality of components, wherein subsequent to the scaling of the noise signal, the noise signal has a second noise power level (e.g., noise power NBB). At 420, based on the ratio of the second gain factor and the first gain factor, the second noise power level is estimated (e.g., by the noise estimation module 228 using equations 20 and/or 21).

While the systems and methods herein will be described in the context of a MU-MIMO environment, the systems and method may be used in any communication system in which a signal detection technique accounts for the potential existence of a number of interfering communication channels.

In accordance with various embodiments, an article of manufacture may be provided that includes a storage medium having instructions stored thereon that, if executed, result in the operations described herein with respect to the method 400 (and/or various other operations discussed in the present disclosure). In an embodiment, the storage medium comprises some type of non-transitory memory (not shown). In accordance with various embodiments, the article of manufacture may be a computer-readable medium such as, for example, software or firmware.

As used herein, the term “module” may refer to, be part of, or include an Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC), an electronic circuit, a processor (shared, dedicated, or group) and/or memory (shared, dedicated, or group) that execute one or more software or firmware programs, a combinational logic circuit, and/or other suitable components that provide the described functionality.

The description incorporates use of the phrases “in an embodiment,” or “in various embodiments,” which may each refer to one or more of the same or different embodiments. Furthermore, the terms “comprising,” “including,” “having,” and the like, as used with respect to embodiments of the present disclosure, are synonymous.

Various operations may have been described as multiple discrete actions or operations in turn, in a manner that is most helpful in understanding the claimed subject matter. However, the order of description should not be construed as to imply that these operations are necessarily order dependent. In particular, these operations may not be performed in the order of presentation. Operations described may be performed in a different order than the described embodiment. Various additional operations may be performed and/or described operations may be omitted in additional embodiments.

Although specific embodiments have been illustrated and described herein, it is noted that a wide variety of alternate and/or equivalent implementations may be substituted for the specific embodiment shown and described without departing from the scope of the present disclosure. The present disclosure covers all methods, apparatus, and articles of manufacture fairly falling within the scope of the appended claims either literally or under the doctrine of equivalents. This application is intended to cover any adaptations or variations of the embodiment disclosed herein. Therefore, it is manifested and intended that the present disclosure be limited only by the claims and the equivalents thereof.

Claims (20)

What is claimed is:
1. A method comprising:
during a first time period, receiving, by a first user equipment, (i) a first signal intended for the first user equipment, (ii) a second signal intended for a second user equipment that is different from the first user equipment, and (iii) a noise signal having a first noise power level, wherein the first signal and the second signal are received from an access point;
during the first time period, processing, by an automatic gain control module of the first user equipment using a first gain factor, (i) the first signal, (ii) the second signal, and (iii) the noise signal;
during a second time period, receiving, by the first user equipment, the noise signal having the first noise power level, wherein during the second time period, no signals are received by the first user equipment from the access point;
during the second time period, processing, by the automatic gain control module of the first user equipment using a second gain factor, the noise signal;
determining a ratio of the second gain factor and the first gain factor;
during the first time period and the second time period, propagating the noise signal through a plurality of components of the first user equipment such that the noise signal is scaled by the plurality of components, wherein subsequent to the scaling of the noise signal, the noise signal has a second noise power level; and
based on the ratio of the second gain factor and the first gain factor, estimating the second noise power level.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein:
during the first time period, processing, by the automatic gain control module of the first user equipment using the first gain factor, (i) the first signal, (ii) the second signal, and (iii) the noise signal further comprises
during the first time period, processing, by the automatic gain control module of the first user equipment using the first gain factor, (i) the first signal, (ii) the second signal, and (iii) the noise signal such that an output of the automatic gain control module has a first power level; and
during the second time period, processing, by the automatic gain control module of the first user equipment using the second gain factor, wherein processing the noise signal further comprises
during the second time period, processing, by the automatic gain control module of the first user equipment using the second gain factor, the noise signal such that (i) the output of the automatic gain control module has a second power level and (ii) the second power level is substantially equal to the first power level.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein the plurality of components comprises (i) the automatic gain control module, (ii) an analog to digital conversion module, and (iii) a digital scaling module.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein:
the noise signal is propagated through the plurality of components of the first user equipment, prior to transmitting the noise signal to a demodulator of the first user equipment;
a power of an input signal to the demodulator during the first time period is β;
the ratio of the second gain factor and the first gain factor is a; and
estimating the second noise power level comprises
based on a ratio of β and α, estimating the second noise power level.
5. The method of claim 4, wherein the estimated second noise power level is equal to the ratio of β and α.
6. The method of claim 4, further comprising:
during the first time period, propagating the first signal and the second signal through the plurality of components of the first user equipment, wherein while propagating the first signal and the second signal through the plurality of components of the first user equipment, noise is added to the first signal and the second signal such that the noise added to the first signal and the second signal has a third noise power level at the input to the demodulator; and
based on the ratio of β and α, estimating the third noise power level.
7. The method of claim 6, wherein the estimated third noise power level is equal to a first factor multiplied by the ratio of β and α.
8. The method of claim 6, wherein the method further comprises:
tuning the first factor to achieve at least a threshold performance of the first user equipment.
9. The method of claim 6, wherein the method further comprises:
based on the first gain factor, tuning the first factor.
10. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
based on estimating the second noise power level, estimating the first signal.
11. A user equipment comprising:
(A) an antenna configured to
during a first time period, receive (i) a first signal intended for the user equipment, (ii) an interference signal, and (iii) a noise signal having a first noise power level, wherein the first signal and the second signal are received from an access point, and
during a second time period, receive the noise signal having the first noise power level, wherein during the second time period, no signals are received from the access point;
(B) an automatic gain control module configured to
during the first time period, process, using a first gain factor, (i) the first signal, (ii) the second signal, and (iii) the noise signal, and
during the second time period, process, using a second gain factor, the noise signal;
(C) a plurality of components that comprises at least the automatic gain control module and one or more other components, wherein during the first time period and the second time period, the noise signal is propagated through the plurality of components such that the noise signal is scaled by the plurality of components, wherein subsequent to the scaling of the noise signal, the noise signal has a second noise power level; and
(D) a noise estimation module configured to
determine a ratio of the second gain factor and the first gain factor, and
based on the ratio of the second gain factor and the first gain factor, estimate the second noise power level.
12. The user equipment of claim 11, wherein the automatic gain control module is further configured to:
during the first time period, process, using the first gain factor, (i) the first signal, (ii) the second signal, and (iii) the noise signal such that an output of the automatic gain control module has a first power level; and
during the second time period, process, using the second gain factor, the noise signal such that (i) the output of the automatic gain control module has a second power level and (ii) the second power level is substantially equal to the first power level.
13. The user equipment of claim 11, wherein the plurality of components comprises (i) the automatic gain control module, (ii) an analog to digital conversion module, and (iii) a digital scaling module.
14. The user equipment of claim 11, wherein:
the user equipment further comprises a demodulator;
the noise signal is propagated through the plurality of components, prior to transmitting the noise signal to the demodulator;
a power of an input signal to the demodulator during the first time period is β;
the ratio of the second gain factor and the first gain factor is α; and
the noise estimation module is configured to estimate the second noise power level such that the estimated second noise power level is based on a ratio of β and α.
15. The user equipment of claim 14, wherein the estimated second noise power level is equal to the ratio of β and α.
16. The user equipment of claim 14, wherein:
during the first time period, the first signal and the second signal are propagated through the plurality of components of the first user equipment, wherein while propagating the first signal and the second signal through the plurality of components of the first user equipment, noise is added to the first signal and the second signal such that the noise added to the first signal and the second signal has a third noise power level at the input to the demodulator; and
the noise estimation module is further configured to estimate the third noise power level, based on the ratio of β and α.
17. The user equipment of claim 16, wherein the estimated third noise power level is equal to a first factor multiplied by the ratio of β and α.
18. The user equipment of claim 16, wherein the noise estimation module is further configured to tune the first factor to achieve at least a threshold performance of the user equipment.
19. The user equipment of claim 16, wherein the noise estimation module is further configured to tune the first factor based on the first gain factor.
20. The user equipment of claim 11, further comprising:
a demodulator configured to, based on the estimated second noise power level, estimate the first signal.
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